Back to All Events

Feminisms Unbound: Sexualities, State, Governance

  • Building 6, Room 321 (map)

Sexualities, States, Governance

Bringing together three interdisciplinary and leading edge scholars, this roundtable aims to promote a dialogue on the intimacies of sexuality and the complexities of governance. Historical and ongoing questions of how sexualities are governed in a variety of cultural contexts, the ways in which regulating sexuality impacts state institutions and governance practices, and the constitutive effects of gender, race, colonialism, nationalism will guide the discussions. Participants will inflect these discussions with critical insights from Anglophone literature in the Caribbean, constitutional law in the United States, and questions of radical resistance to U.S. imperialism.


Roundtable discussion participants:

Faith Smith, Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and English, Brandeis University

Faith Smith’s research and writing addresses the intellectual and literary history of the Caribbean, with a particular focus on Anglophone literature.  She also does work on popular culture, gender and sexuality, African diaspora aesthetics, African American literature, and postcolonial literature. Her publications include: Creole Recitations: John Jacob Thomas and Colonial Formation in the Late 19th-Century Caribbean (2002), Sex and the Citizen: Interrogating the Caribbean (2011), as well as numerous articles in journals and edited collections. She is currently working on the book manuscript, Whose Modern? Caribbean Cultural and Intellectual Formation, 1880-1915.

Libby Adler, Professor of Law, Northeastern University

Libby Adler teaches constitutional law, sexuality, gender, and the law, and family law. She has written extensively on sexuality, gender, family and children, including foster care, and draws heavily from queer and critical theory. She is a co-editor of the casebook Mary Joe Frug’s Women and the Law (4th ed.). She also has written about contemporary legal issues arising out of Nazism.

C. Heike Schotten, Associate Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Faculty, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston

C. Heike Shotten’s area of research lies at the unlikely intersection of Nietzsche studies, queer theory, and revolution.  She is particularly interested in thinking through what she calls “revolutionary desire” – the longing for radical social and political change – and studies its rhetorical and philosophical expressions within the history of political thought as well as within feminist and queer theory.  Her first book, Nietzsche’s Revolution: Décadence, Politics, and Sexuality (Palgrave, 2009), examined Nietzsche’s revolutionary desire and its connection with contemporary queer theory; her current work investigates the meaning of revolutionary desire in the 21st century, amidst both the demise of the sovereign nation-state and the rise of neoliberalism and a diffuse, global, U.S. empire.  Professor Schotten's articles have appeared in Politics & Gender and differences:  A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies.  She is currently at work on a book manuscript that uses queer theory to interrogate theories of sovereignty and imagine radical resistance to U.S. imperial power.

Moderator: Jyoti Puri, Professor of Sociology, Simmons College

Jyoti Puri is Professor of Sociology at Simmons College. She writes and teaches at the crossroads of sociology, sexuality and queer studies, and postcolonial feminist theory. Her books include, Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India (Routledge 1999) and Encountering Nationalism, (Blackwell Publishers 2004). She has also co-edited special issues of journals and published numerous articles and book chapters. Her current book, Sexual States: Governance and Anti-Sodomy Law in India’s Present, is under contract with Duke University Press. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants, including a Rockefeller Research Fellowship and a Fulbright Senior Research award. She served as Chair of the Section on Sex and Gender for the American Sociological Association and is currently a co-editor for the journal, Foucault Studies


 About Feminisms Unbound

This Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality (GCWS) initiative, Feminisms Unbound, is an annual event series featuring debates that focus on feminist concerns, theories, and practices in this contemporary moment.  This series is intended to foster conversations and community among Boston-area feminist intellectuals and activists. The series, in its open configuration, endeavors to allow the greatest measure of engagement across multiple disciplinary trajectories, and a full array of feminist investments.  

The event organizers, GCWS affiliated faculty Kimberly Juanita Brown, Visiting Scholar in Gender Studies, Pembroke Center, Brown University, Lisa Lowe, Professor of English and American Studies, Tufts University, and Jyoti Puri, Professor of Sociology, Simmons College, have programmed four topic-based discussions in this series.

Earlier Event: November 5
Film Screening of Anita
Later Event: March 28
Power & (In)Visibility